Even as the criminal probe being carried out by the Manhattan District Attorney and the New York Attorney General is set to get big headlines this week due to impending criminal indictments, a separate civil probe by the Washington DC Attorney General just took a sharp turn in an ugly direction.
The Washington DC Attorney General has been investigating financial fraud and abuses in relation to the Trump inaugural fund. Ivanka Trump is not known to be a target of that investigation, but she was called as a witness. Now Mother Jones has pieced together that her testimony was false. This is a big deal, because she was under oath at the time.
There are a couple ways the Washington DC Attorney General’s office can go from here. If it believes that Ivanka Trump’s false testimony was intended to deceive and that it can get a conviction against her, it can bring perjury charges against her. This would result in her arrest and trial. Even in a civil probe like this one, false testimony can result in criminal charges, because the civil case is being brought by the government and not by a private party.
On the other hand, if the AG’s office isn’t sure whether Ivanka’s false testimony is egregious enough to get a perjury conviction, it can simply demand that she come back and tell the truth and become a really helpful witness in the inaugural fund probe, in exchange for not charging her. In other words, she’d have to give up everyone else. She might be willing to do this, rather than take her chances with perjury charges that just might stick.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report